Shmancy Town

Working with a view from the 20th floor of the JW Marriott in Beijing. The view is gorgeous, the service is impeccable, the coffee superb. That’s the Huamao Centre in the middle, the Ritz-Carlton to the right, and China Central Place in the middle. It is a lovely area, a living testament to how far China generally and Beijing specifically have come in their evolution, (especially as most of the patrons of all of these places are Chinese now, not foreigners.)

At the same time, I must confess that the area is a bit on the highbrow side for me. One of the great gifts of age has been that I no longer feel the need to excuse my prosaic preference for a lifestyle that is more Nissan than Ferrari, more Kirkland than Armani, more tuna melt than caviar. Blame my parentage: both mom and dad were children of the Depression, mom especially, and among their many lessons to me was the adage that having the means to make choices does not dictate what those choices should be.

So I will head to the airport today with the delightful memories of a nine-day stay in this beautiful hotel, but I’ll be back in the Courtyard on my next trip, and happier for it.

5 thoughts on “Shmancy Town

  1. gregorylent April 29, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    i always wonder what changes in a person when leaving china after many years .. has your chinese rusted at all? do you yearn for what was? do you feel like you are out of touch with the zeitgeist?

    loved the comments on the fact that it is chinese folks in the ritz now, and also the preference for the less glitzy lifestyle ..


    • David Wolf April 30, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      All good questions. Do you mind if I take them one at a time, and answer in posts rather than in comments?


      • gregorylent May 1, 2018 / 2:39 am

        please do 🙂


      • gregorylent May 1, 2018 / 2:40 am

        another one … do you feel like you have lost perspective on usa by being back inside the collective illusion 🙂


      • David Wolf May 1, 2018 / 5:12 am

        That one I will answer here, briefly, because a full answer would be book-length.

        Gladiator was an awful movie, at least from the perspective of a student of the classics, but there was one quote, delivered by the dying Marcus Aurelius, that seems apt here:

        There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish… it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter.

        In the short time we have been back I have come to believe that we are on the cusp of the end-times of Western Civilization. As such, I believe the only worthy endeavors beyond trying to fix the broken American polity are trying to save what we can and laying the groundwork to ensure that the coming dark ages are as short as possible.


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